You had so much great music being written during this era and it just had a magical feeling to it.
—Nick Hilscher, musical director
Nick Hilscher was only 11 years old when he he fell in love with the music of the Glenn Miller Orchestra, thanks to the movie, The Glenn Miller Story.
"I had an immediate connection with it," he says. Now 36, Hilscher is the musical director and male vocalist with the band.
"This was the ultimate swing feel and it just struck a chord with me. I loved the feel of the music, I loved the compositions that had been written and that was it. 'Moonlight Serenade' was an immediate favourite for me. After that the passion just grew."
Glenn Miller led his eponymous orchestra for only six short years before the plane he was on, travelling from Great Britain to Paris, mysteriously disappeared in 1944. But his music has endured through the generations.
Miller's group, with its original sound, quickly became popular and before long they were playing sold-out shows up and down the eastern U.S., including at Carnegie Hall. Their recordings topped the charts with some of the favourites being "Tuxedo Junction," "In the Mood," "Moonlight Serenade" and "Chatanooga Choo Choo."
Band leader Nick Hilscher has been singing in the Glenn Miller Orchestra since 1998 (Glenn Miller Productions Inc.)
Of course the members of the orchestra have changed many times over the years. But Hilscher, who started singing in the group in 1998, says there's a real timelessness to the music.
"There was a special character to it. This is an era where you had professional composers and professional lyricists who were writing music for professional musicians to play. You had so much great music being written during this era and it just had a magical feeling to it."
It was Harry Connick Jr. and his music for the movie When Harry Met Sally that caused a renewed interest in that style of music, according to Hilscher.
Now, Michael Bublé continues carrying the torch. "He's out there with a lot of fans and I hope it is creating a new resurgence for the next generation."
It seems to be working. Hilscher notices the audiences for the Glenn Miller Orchestra getting younger. "There used to be lots of folks from World War II generation, now we're getting their children. They say 'this was my parents' music, now we feel like it's our music, as well.'
"I hope it continues and continues."
The Glenn Miller Orchestra performs at Pantages Playhouse Theatre on Tuesday, June 25 at 8:00 p.m.